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Handbook - Art Division Rules

  1. All artwork entered (except for the Military Combat Experience category #15) must have been completed after March 25, 2012.
  2. Each VA (Veterans Affairs) facility may submit only one (1) entry in each art category to the National level of the Art Competition.
  3. Complete the art entry form with as much detail about medium or materials used as possible. This information is shared with the Phase 1 judges while they are scoring each entry.
  4. Artwork created by a group of Veterans (two or more Veterans) will qualify for entry into the National Art Competition. See category #35 in the Applied Art Division section.
  5. All art entries must be created solely by the Veteran and/or Veterans submitting the art entry.
  6. Sets in the applied arts and fine arts can contain no more than three pieces. The pieces must relate to one another in an obvious way to the judges in order to be classified as a set. No sets are allowed in the kit categories, unless a single kit contains a set such as a set of suncatcher Christmas ornaments or a chess set.
  7. If an entry contains a craft kit, it must go into a craft kit category unless otherwise stated in the category definitions (for example: soapstone carving kits go into the carving category).
  8. It is highly recommended that all paintings, drawings, watercolors, pastels, photographs, graphics, collages and digital art be framed. It is required that if the piece is to be mounted under a clear protective layer, that Plexiglas be used. Pieces mounted under glass will be disqualified.
  9. Guns, knives or other weapons will not be accepted due to VA regulations banning these items from VA facilities.
  10. For the first phase of the national art competition, only an electronic image file in JPEG format of the art on a CD will be accepted. Only one electronic jpeg image can be submitted for each work, though you may include two electronic jpeg images for each three-dimensional entry.
  11. No one Veteran will be allowed to enter more than three categories in the art division into competition at the national level.
  12. The Department of Veterans Affairs reserves the right to withdraw any works for public display during the local or national competition phase.
  13. All CD's containing the electronic JPEG images and forms for the 2013 National Art Competition must be postmarked by March 25, 2013.
  14. Entries that require assembling after unpacking and items shipped by freight will be disqualified.
  15. No puzzles, including puzzle kits will be accepted.
  16. Entries that include personal collections such as spoons, medals, or coins (where the content of the entry is not created by the Veteran) will not be accepted.
  17. Artwork Size Restrictions - Each National Art entry must be able to fit into one box. The box can be up to 150 lbs., up to 165 inches in length and girth combined. Length cannot exceed 108 inches. To measure packages use the following formula: length + 2x width + 2x height
    • Step 1. Determining Length - Measure the longest side of the package, rounding to the nearest inch. This is your length.
    • Step 2. Determining Girth (2x Width + 2x Height). Measure the width of the package, rounding to the nearest inch. Multiply this number by 2. Measure the height of the package, rounding to the nearest inch. Multiply this number by 2. Add these two numbers together. This is your girth.
    • Step 3. Add the length and the girth together. This is your package measurement.
      Entries that exceed the weight and measurements indicated above will be disqualified.
  18. VA staff contact persons: Please explain to the Veterans entering the art division competition that their artwork will be required to be available through the local and national competition process (February through May). All art entries that are selected as top three scoring entries in the first phase of the national competition in April will need to be shipped in May to Boston, Massachusetts for the second phase of the national judging in June.

Art Division Phase One Process

Retain each of your facility's first place winning entries and store them in a secure place. Explain to your Veterans that the first phase of the National Art Competition will use electronic digital image files in jpeg format. The top three scoring entries in each category will be chosen before the end of April. The staff contact person listed on the entry form of each top placing entry will be notified. They will then be given information about shipping the actual art pieces and the deadlines for the final phase of the competition. All gold medal winners from the National Art Division Competition will be invited to participate in the Festival. Veterans will be presented ribbons and medals for the first three places of the National Art Competition.

Note: VA staff contact persons will be notified via E-mail with the 2013 competition results.

Veterans Day Poster Submissions

The Veterans Day Poster is not a category within the National Veterans Creative Arts competition. However, Veterans who wish to submit electronic jpeg images for consideration of the 2013 Veterans Day Poster should submit the jpeg image, art entry form, and signed consent for release of picture and/or voice form to:

Becky Ballard (128/JB)
Visual Arts Assistant
VA Medical Center
#1 Jefferson Barracks Drive
St. Louis, Missouri 63125

The criteria for submitting an electronic digital JPEG image of artwork for consideration as the Veterans Day Poster is as follows:

  • The medium used must be a fine art or applied art medium.
  • Patriotic imagery that conveys the "honoring all who served" theme is appropriate. This would include the old standbys such as flags and eagles. Adding to this concept is encouraged.

Note: The Veterans Day National Committee will also be reviewing artwork from other artist sources and that it is not guaranteed that one of the submissions via the National Veterans Creative Arts Program will be the one selected as the 2013 poster. The committee will review and select the artwork for the poster in May, 2013.
If chosen, the artist agrees to relinquish any and all rights to the poster. The poster will become public domain and will be used for Veterans Day purposes.
To view Veterans Day Posters from previous years, visit the Veterans Day website at: http://www.va.gov/vetsday and click on "Veterans Day Posters."

Fine Art Categories

Fine Art Category Chairperson

Marisa Straub (DOM/43)
Visual Arts Assistant
VA Medical Center
5000 West National Avenue
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53295

All Fine Art Category and Military Combat Experience entry and consent forms, the CD with the jpeg images of all Fine Art and Military Combat first place entries, a contact sheet with thumbnail prints of the images along with category, title and Veteran's name are to be submitted to Marisa Straub at the Milwaukee, Wisconsin VA Medical Center.

  1. Acrylic Painting - The creation of original work by applying acrylic paint to a surface. The surface is not limited to canvas; it can be on wood, plaster, leather, metal, glass, etc.
  2. Oil Painting - The creation of original work by applying oil paint to a surface. The surface is not limited to canvas; it can be on wood, plaster, leather, metal, etc.
  3. Watercolor - The creation of work using watercolor paint. The surface is not limited to canvas; it can be on wood, plaster, leather, metal, etc.
  4. Sculpture - Art created by shaping, combining, modeling or casting materials such as plastic, clay, textiles, wax or polymers into a work of art. They may be free standing or relief.
    • Note: Carved sculptures should be entered into Carving category (19), metal sculptures should be entered into the Metalwork category (30), and glass sculptures should be entered in the Glasswork category (31).
  5. Original Design in Pyrography - A design burned into a surface by using wood burning tools. The design must be original. This process is typically done on wood, but can also be done on leather and other surfaces. If transfers or tracings are used, the piece must be entered in the Transfer/Engraving Art Kit category (51).
  6. Monochromatic Drawing - A monochromatic drawing consists of lines that use a single color and shades of that color that may be done using pencil, ink, charcoal, etc. Any use of additional color should be entered into colored drawing.
  7. Colored Drawing - A colored drawing consists of lines of two or more colors and may be done using colored pencils, markers, etc.
  8. Pastels - A colored crayon consisting of pigment and binder (oil or chalk). A pastel is usually a painting rather than drawing because the color is applied in masses rather than in lines.
  9. Graphics - A multiple-replica (more than one copy or print) art form. It consists of an original print or proof from a master plate created through such processes as lithography, etching, woodcut, engraving, etc. Computer graphics must be entered into Digital Art category (13).
  10. Pottery - A functional piece of fired ceramic ware (bowl, vase, pot, etc.) The form can be wheel-thrown or hand-built, not slip cast in a mold. Porcelain is included in this category. Slip cast ceramics belong in category 16 or 17. Sculptural clay pieces should be entered into the Sculpture category (4).
  11. Black and White Photography - A monochromatic photograph using black and white and varying shades of grey or sepia tones. Photographs must be mounted and framed. This category includes both film and digital forms of photography.
  12. Color Photography - A color photograph. Photographs must be mounted and framed. This category includes both film and digital forms of photography.
  13. Digital Art - Art that was created using digital technology in the process of its creation. The work is created entirely with a computer and includes 2D graphics as well as 3D graphics. All original entries must be printed, mounted and framed to qualify for this competition. It is required that the software programs used be listed in the "mediums/techniques used" section of the entry form. Animation and videos will be disqualified. Note: Digitally enhanced photography should not be entered into this category. Photography that has been digitally enhanced should be entered into either the Black and White Photography category (11) or the Color Photography category (12).
  14. Fine Art, Mixed Media - The use of two or more fine arts techniques in the creation of a single piece of fine art. Using two types of paint (oil and acrylic) DOES NOT constitute a "mixed media" piece.
  15. Military Combat Experience - To enter this category there are four requirements:
    • The Veteran must have experienced combat duty during World War II, Korean War, Vietnam, Gulf War, or current combat operations.
    • The artwork must relate to the Veteran's personal experience in that war or conflict but does not need to be a graphic representation of that combat experience.
    • A written statement/narrative explaining how the art relates to the Veteran's wartime experience, composed by the Veteran and/or his VA staff contact person of 25 to 225 words must be included with each entry. Failure to send a written narrative will result in the entry being disqualified.
    • A Request For and Consent to Release Medical and Health Information form signed by the Veteran allowing us to reveal his/her diagnosis if applicable to the entry, must be included with entry.

The medium used must be a fine art or applied art medium. Kits are not allowed. Unlike the other art categories, there are NO restrictions as to when the artwork was created however entries submitted previously into this category are not eligible to compete. Entries in the Military Combat Experience category will be submitted to Marisa Straub, Visual Arts Assistant.

Applied Art Categories

Applied Art Category Chairperson

Becky Ballard (128/JB)
Visual Arts Assistant
VA Medical Center
#1 Jefferson Barracks Drive
St. Louis, Missouri 63125

All Applied Art Category, Special Recognition and Group Art entry and consent forms, the CD with jpeg images of all Applied Art, Special Recognition and Group Art first place entries, a contact sheet with thumbnail prints of the images along with category, title and Veteran's name, and Veteran's Day Poster image are to be submitted to Becky Ballard at the VA St. Louis VA Medical Center.

  1. Glazed Ceramics - Clay pieces formed by pouring slip in a mold, bisque fired, and then finished with the application of glaze(s) and fired. Entries that contain bisque pieces that are painted and/or stained, as well as glazed, are to be entered into the painted ceramic category.
  2. Stained or Painted Ceramics - Clay pieces formed by pouring slip in a mold, fired into bisque ware and finished with the application of stains or paints. If firing is the last step when creating your piece, the piece must be entered into Glazed Ceramics. Ceramics using both painting and glazing techniques should be entered into the stained or painted ceramics category.
  3. Woodworking - This refers to pieces constructed of wood that may have a functional/useful purpose, such as a jewelry box, a chess set, a clock, etc. Wood lathe work or wood turning is included in this category.
  4. Carving - Decorative art achieved by carving away unwanted materials from an original piece of material. It may be relief or in the round. Material used includes stone, wood, ivory and other hard substances. Note: HHV soapstone carving kits are to be included in this category.
  5. Jewelry (not beads) - Jewelry pieces made through casting, channeling, lost-wax, wire wrapping, etc. Jewelry incorporating beads should be entered in the Beadwork (category 32).
  6. Crocheting/Knitting - The use of yarn or thread and a crochet hook, knitting needles or nifty knitters to create a pattern/design and is often a useful object. Tatting is included in this category.
  7. Mosaic - The art of decoration with small pieces of colored glass, tile, stone or other hard material used to create a pattern or picture. Wood intarsia and marquetry are included in this category.
  8. Collage - An artistic collage work may include newspaper clippings, ribbons, bits of colored or hand-made papers, portions of other artwork, photographs, and such, glued to a surface. Collage is two dimensional. Scrapbooks are not allowed.
  9. Assemblage - A form of sculpture comprised of "found" objects arranged in such a way that they create a piece. These objects can be anything organic or man-made. Assemblage is three dimensional. Personal collections alone (for example: coin collections, medal collections, etc.) will not be accepted.
  10. Original Design in Needlework - This includes stitchery, needlepoint, quilting, sewing a garment, soft sculpture, embroidery, cross stitch, and crewelwork, etc. These are original designs created and completed entirely by the Veteran that are usually worked on fabric (occasionally leather) with a needle to create a finished piece. It may be flat or three-dimensional. Pre-printed patterns on the fabric, the use of commercial patterns, charts or graphs should be entered in the Fabric Art Kits category (49) or Needlework Kits category (50).
  11. Original Design in Fiber Arts - The use of a substance that can be separated into threadlike parts to create an original design in latch hook, rug punching, string art, basketry or weaving. Pre-printed patterns on the fabric, the use of commercial patterns, charts or graphs would be in the Latch Hook Kits category (44), Fabric Art Kits category (49), or Needlework Kits category (50).
  12. Knotting - Lacework made by knotting cords, thread or other fibers. Beads, shells or other decorative materials may be used. Macramé and fly tieing are examples of techniques that are in the knotting category.
  13. Leather Stamping - Involves the use of shaped implements (stamps) to create an imprint onto a leather surface, often by striking the stamps with a mallet.
  14. Leather Carving/Tooling - Uses metal implements to compress moistened leather in such a way as to give a three dimensional appearance to a two dimensional surface. The main tools used to "carve" leather include: swivel knife, veiner, beveler, pear shader, seeder, cam, and backgrounder. The swivel knife is held like a pencil and dragged along the leather to outline patterns. The other tools are punch-type implements struck with a wooden or raw hide mallet. The object is to add further definition by them to the cut lines made by the swivel knife. Entries that contain both stamping and carving/tooling are to be entered into this category as well.
  15. Metalwork - The primary material used is metal. Tooling or punching a design or transfer, or metal assembled into a three-dimensional piece for decorative purposes are included in this category. Lathe work using metal is included in this category. Copper tooling should be entered into Transfer/Engraving Art Kit category (51).
  16. Glasswork - Glass is used as the primary medium. Examples would include stained glass, hand-blown glass, fused glass and glass etching and enameling. Commercially shaped glass items that have been painted would be in one of the Fine Arts Painting categories.
  17. Beadwork - Beads of any kind are used to create a design. Examples would include beaded jewelry, beaded belts or other items made on a beading loom, etc.
  18. Scroll Saw/Fretwork - Decorative open patterns cut out of wood or metal using a scroll saw and/or files.
  19. Applied Art, Mixed Media - The distinct blending of two or more applied arts techniques to create an object.
  20. Group Art Category - A single art entry created by a group of Veterans. Groups in art are not limited in number of group members. However no more than 8 eligible Veterans from the first place national competition winning entry in the Group Art category will be funded by the Festival. Note: Entries in this category must meet all size and weight restrictions.

    Entries in Group Art category MUST also include:
    • a written statement/narrative (25 to 225 words) by a VA staff person and/or Veteran group members that should include an explanation of the creative process, goals of the group, mediums/techniques used and any other useful information. Judging for this category equally takes into consideration the written narrative as well as the skill involved in the artwork.
    • a Request For and Consent to Release Medical Records or Health Information form signed by the Veteran

Visual Arts Special Recognition Categories

The Special Recognition category of the visual arts division is divided into two separate categories. The intent of these categories is to reinforce the concept of the arts as therapy, where an individual uses artistic expression to facilitate successful treatment outcomes. Entries and their accompanying written statement/narrative from the Veteran's VA staff contact person should focus on how the arts are used by the individual(s) to rise above severe limitations. Judging for this category equally takes into consideration the written narrative as well as the skill involved in the artwork.

  1. Special Recognition PD (physical disability) - Entries that recognize individuals who exhibit creative expression through the visual arts while possessing significant physical limitations.
  2. Special Recognition MH (mental health challenges) - Entries that recognize individuals who exhibit creative expression through the visual arts while possessing significant emotional or mental health challenges.

    Entries in each of the two Special Recognition categories MUST also include:
    • a written statement/narrative (25 to 225 words) by a VA staff person or the Veteran of why the Veteran is deserving of special recognition
    • a Request For and Consent to Release Medical Records or Health Information form signed by the Veteran

Kit Categories

Craft Kit Category Chairperson

(To be determined)

All Kit Category entry and consent forms, the CD with the jpeg images of all Craft Kit first place entries, a contact sheet with thumbnail prints of the images along with category, title and Veteran's name are to be submitted to (staff person to be determined).

Kits = All materials needed to complete the project are supplied in the kit. Non-Help Hospitalized Veterans (HHV) craft kits are eligible.

Note: No puzzles, including puzzle kits will be accepted.

Only ONE KIT PER ENTRY. Entries containing more than one kit will be disqualified (with the exception of Category #53 – Combined Kits).

  1. Leather Kits - Kits that come pre-cut, pre-punched, pre-embossed and ready to finish, stain and/or lace. If the unfinished leather is hand stamped, carved, or tooled by the Veteran it should be entered in Applied Art Leather Stamping category (28) or Applied Art Leather Carving/Tooling category (29).
  2. Wood Building Kits - Wood kits that have a useful function such as birdhouses, carousels, cup racks, spice shelves, etc.
  3. Model Building (Plastic) Kits - Plastic snap together or glue together kits. (Diorama's will not be accepted. The definition of a diorama is a 3 dimensional representation of a display or scene.)
  4. Model Building (Wood) Kits - Wood model kits. (Diorama's will not be accepted. The definition of a diorama is a 3 dimensional representation of a display or scene.)
  5. Model Building (Metal) Kits - Metal model kits. (Diorama's will not be accepted. The definition of a diorama is a 3 dimensional representation of a display or scene.)
  6. String Art Kits - Kits that use string to establish a design. This category includes dream catcher kits and HHV beading kits that DO NOT involve the use of a needle.
  7. Latch Hook Kits - Rug kits that come in a unit with the right amount and color of yarn in the kit and the pattern already printed on the canvas.
  8. Craft Coloring Kits - A pre-printed design on fabric, paper, wood, canvas, rugs, etc that the Veteran fills in with colors of their choice using colored pencils, markers, paint, etc.
  9. Figurine Painting Kits - Pre-formed plaster, plastic, metal or wood 3 dimensional figures that the Veteran paints following a separate diagram and instructions included in the kit. There are no outlines on the piece indicating color application areas.
  10. Paint by Number Kits - Involves applying oil, acrylic, or watercolor paints to the outlined numbered areas.
  11. Suncatcher or Sand Art Kits - Suncatchers involve the application of transparent glass stains on a pre-formed and outlined plastic shape. Sand art involves colored sand applied to pre-shaped adhesive areas.
  12. Fabric Art Kits - Kits that include the use of commercial patterns and fabric (cloth or yarn) to create a pre-printed pattern or design. Cut-n-tuck kits would be included in this category.
  13. Needlework Kits - Kits utilizing yarn or thread applied with a needle to plastic, cloth or canvas. Embroider kits, crewel kits, needlepoint kits, etc., are in this category. Pieces created from pre-printed designs, the use of commercial patterns and graphs qualify for this category. Note: HHV beading kits that involve the use of a needle are to be included in this category.
  14. Transfer/Engraving Art Kits - Copper tooling kits, foil scratch art kits and wood burning kits are included in this category which involves incising images, designs or patterns onto a surface by rubbing, scratching, burnishing, cutting or burning.
  15. Mosaic Kits - A kit that uses small pieces of colored glass, plastic, tile, stone or other hard material to create a pre-printed pattern or picture. Woodscapes and Pixel Art would be included in this category.
  16. Combined Kits - The integration of two or more distinctly different kits to create a single work of art. A collection of model cars or ornaments, etc. will not be accepted.

Art Division Judging Criteria

Judges at the 2013 National level of competition will be ranking each art entry based on the following criteria: creativity & originality, skill, and total presentation.

Submitting Entries into the 2013 Competition

Veterans interested in participating in the competition should contact the local recreation therapy/creative arts therapy departments at the VA facility where they are enrolled, as early as possible to assure that deadline dates for submission of entries are met. Veterans must work with a staff person from the VA facility where they are enrolled to obtain necessary entry and consent forms and to submit the digital image of their artwork.

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